Master director Johnnie To's latest collaboration with superstars Sammi Cheng and Andy Lau is a deliciously madcap riff on the "buddy cop" genre, as a retired sleuth with an uncanny ability teams with a quick-witted inspector to fight Hong Kong's criminal underworld, one costume at a time.
Blind Detective is prolific master director Johnnie To's latest collaboration with superstars Sammi Cheng and Andy Lau since Yesterday Once More nearly a decade ago. It was well worth the wait for these giants of Hong Kong cinema to reunite in this mix of mystery and romance, slapstick and grotesquerie. And though the protagonist has lost his vision, rest assured that, like everything To touches, the film is rife with inspired spectacle.
Chong (Lau) had to retire from police work four years ago when he was afflicted with blindness. He now pays his rent as a private detective pursuing unsolved cold cases. Although Chong may no longer "see" in the strict sense of the word, he possesses an uncanny ability to mentally project himself into crime scenes as a way of identifying with perpetrators. Ho (Cheng), meanwhile, is a young inspector, though her remarkable reflexes and aptitude for firearms defy her lack of police experience. After meeting during a bank robbery investigation, Ho and Chong begin working together on various cases, including one involving a serial killer. They turn out to make a great, if peculiar, team, staging elaborate reconstructions of crimes and donning all manner of goofy costumes as a way of "becoming" their roles — call it method sleuthing.
Deliriously madcap — even in scenes
of carnage and dismemberment — Blind
Detective is audaciously entertaining. It
serves as a reminder as to why Cheng and
Lau are such beloved co-stars — this is
their seventh film together — and why To is
regarded as one of international cinema's
most fearless stylists.